Dangerously-old I-10 bridge in Lake Charles to be replaced with toll bridge
LAKE CHARLES – The notorious I-10 bridge linking Louisiana with Texas will be replaced, DOTD announced Friday.
The state said it approved a plan to solicit public-private partnership proposals to replace the aging Calcasieu River Bridge.
Built in 1952, the bridge is outdated and must be replaced to meet current highway standards, DOTD said.
The bridge is infamous for its age and low rating. During Hurricane Laura in August, the storm blew a riverboat casino into the bridge structure. The state reminds drivers, though, it is safe to travel over.
The total cost of constructing a new bridge is estimated to be between $600- $800 million, dependent on the preferred alternative chosen, of which DOTD has committed $85 million.
In a Friday afternoon news release, the state suggested the new bridge would feature a toll to help fund the project: “By utilizing a Public-Private Partnership, the only way to move forward with this project is with the help of the private sector and a user fee. The cost of doing nothing is far greater,” transportation Secretary Shawn D. Wilson said in a news release.
Public-private partnerships generally consist of a private investor providing the necessary capital for construction in exchange for long-term agreement to operate the structure and recoup their investment, DOTD explained.
A new bridge could also be in a different location from the current I-10 crossing, the state said three alternative locations have been identified and will be evaluated. A decision is anticipated by 2022, with a contract scheduled to be awarded in early 2023 followed by construction.
I-210 would be an alternative around the future toll bridge.
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